Ina, I think I love you.
Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts were the second March recipe for the Barefoot Bloggers and were chosen by Anne of Anne Strawberry. Although these caught my eye before, I probably never would have got around to making them. And that would have been terrible because right now, these tarts are one of my favorite things. The boyfriend also gave his approval.
I’ve never really thought I cared for goat cheese but I’m really coming around to it now. It’s a main ingredient in both these tarts and another Ina recipe I absolutely love, Roasted Pepper and Goat Cheese Sandwiches, which you must try if you haven’t yet!!
What I did: I went a little smaller with my circle cuts, using a 4 inch springform pan as my cutter for the puff pastry. I think next time I would just make squares so I wouldn’t have any waste. I couldn’t bring myself to throw away perfectly good puff pastry so I put my scraps together and made a few extra ugly shaped ones that tasted just as good as the prettier ones. I baked the smaller sized tarts for about 17-18 minutes instead of 20-25.
What I thought: Really, really wonderful. I would make these again without a doubt. My only tiny little complaint seems to be related to puff pastry which I don’t think I love by itself. I remember I complained about it previously on Ina’s Easy Cheese Danishes as well. If something is covering the puff pastry, I’m happy. But naked puff pastry… not so much. I don’t seem to care for the flakiness or the taste. So that being said, I took all of the leftover ingredients and turned this recipe into a sandwich using sourdough bread to model after that Roasted Pepper Sandwich I mentioned earlier. Yum!!!!
Ina Garten’s Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts
2008, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics
Show: Barefoot Contessa Episode: Say Cheese
1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) puff pastry, defrosted
Good olive oil
4 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (2 large onions)
3 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dry white wine
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus 2 ounces shaved with a vegetable peeler
4 ounces garlic-and-herb goat cheese (recommended: Montrachet)
1 large tomato, cut into 4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices
3 tablespoons julienned basil leaves
Pappa al Pomodoro is a Tuscan bread and tomato soup. I’ve been eyeing this recipe up ever since I got Ina Garten’s new book Back to Basics. I love tomatoes, I could eat them everyday and I pretty much do. And I love bread. That was almost a guarantee that I would love Pappa al Pomodoro.
The ingredient list for this soup is pretty minimal. It calls for fennel which I’ve never actually used fresh before. It smells just like licorice. The prep work isn’t too bad. It’s a lot of chopping and cubing, but there’s plenty of stages where things cook at different times so you have lots of time to get it all done as you’re going through. This may be one of the first times I’ve been in the kitchen cooking completely relaxed and in control, usually I’m a disorganized mess. I’m just not as comfortable with cooking as I am with baking… yet.
I did change a few things. I couldn’t bring myself to use so much olive oil so I cut both quantities in half. I’m really sensitive to salt so I cut that in half as well. I had to use bacon since my local grocery store didn’t carry pancetta. I ran out of basil leaves while making the garnish so dried basil went into the actual soup. (Tip: If you’re using dried basil instead of fresh… 1 cup fresh would equal maybe 1/4 to 1/3 dried according to the other cooks on the ‘net).
This was very good. After some whisking, the bread dissolved and you get a thick, rich tomato soup. The garnish served as a nice texture difference as well as giving an additional flavor from the bacon (in my case). Some reviews I read said this version was bland which kind of threw me for a loop. I definitely didn’t think it was bland, but everyone’s tastes are different I guess.
Ina Garten’s Pappa Al Pomidoro
Cookbook: Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics
Show: Barefoot Contessa Episode: Bread Winner
1/2 cup good olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onion (2 onions)
1 cup medium-diced carrots, unpeeled (3 carrots)
1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and medium-diced (1 1/2 cups)
4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
3 cups (1-inch) diced ciabatta cubes, crusts removed
2 (28-ounce) cans good Italian plum tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
For the topping:
3 cups (1-inch) diced ciabatta cubes
2 ounces thickly sliced pancetta, chopped
24 to 30 whole fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons good olive oil, plus more for serving
Salt and pepper
Click Here For Directions